Finding love can be hard. What can be even harder is finding a place that provides the optimal conditions to sustain it. Long-lasting love can not only be good for you emotionally, but financially as well. Couples who stay together can save together, and let's face it, divorce is really expensive.
We know love is more than just romantic restaurants, wedding venues, and the number of neighbors who have been married for a long time, but those factors can indicate which cities provide the best environments for love to thrive. That's why we used data to determine which U.S. cities are the best places for long-lasting love.
How we chose these metrics and cities
For this analysis, we collected hard data and statistics for eight metrics, comparing the 50 largest U.S. cities against one another.
The metrics we looked at are:
- Percentage of married people: How many people are married in the area? Some cities cater to singles whereas others support long-term relationships.
- Median duration of active marriages: Since we're looking at long-lasting love, the number of years couples have been married is another key factor. (For reference, the average duration of a marriage in the United States is 8.2 years.)
- Percentage of divorced people: Divorce rates are typically higher in states where dissolving a marriage isn’t a lengthy legal process. At any rate, marriage isn’t for everyone!
- Percentage of households that are unmarried couples living together: Marriage isn’t the only way to show a long-term commitment to a romantic partner.
- Number of same-sex couples per 1,000 households: Love knows no bounds. The number of same-sex couples indicates whether a city or location is supportive and inclusive.
- Number of romantic restaurants per capita: Romance needs opportunities to thrive! Certain cities have more romantic restaurants than others, affording locals that very opportunity.
- Number of adult stores per capita: One of the hallmarks of lasting love is being able to have fun with your partner and engage in a playful, spicy relationship behind closed doors.
- Number of wedding venues per capita: Love can be displayed privately or it can be shouted from the rooftops. Some cities have more places to celebrate your love publicly.
America’s best cities for lasting love
Love is in the air, all over the country. It’s clear love doesn’t discriminate when it comes to location — the top 25 cities for lasting love are sprinkled across almost every region. Even though 11 cities are on the East Coast and five are on the West Coast, the city in the number-one spot — St. Louis, Missouri — is close to the center of the country. Maybe it’s called "America’s heartland" for a different reason?
Another Midwestern city — Minneapolis, Minnesota — takes second place. The remaining eight cities in the top 10 are spread throughout the rest of the country. In New England, Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, rank third and sixth respectively.
One thing is for sure: Virginia really is for lovers! Although the slogan is cutesy, Richmond is the number-five best city for lasting love. Perhaps there is something to the phrase, and maybe it extends to the greater DMV area because Washington, D.C. comes in the eighth-place spot.
The West Coast is home to two cities in the top 10. Seattle comes in seventh place while San Francisco ranks tenth.
A city-by-city breakdown of America’s 25 true cities of love
|Rank||City||Total score (0-100)||% Married||% Divorced||% Unmarried living together||Marriage length||Same-Sex couples||“Romantic” restaurants||“Adult” stores||Wedding venues|
|1||St. Louis, MO||80.5||3.6||2.6||2.4||5.0||5.0||4.4||4.8||4.5|
|10||San Francisco, CA||67.5||3.5||2.2||2.6||2.4||5.0||5.0||3.4||2.9|
|17||Kansas City, MO||64.5||4.3||2.3||2.9||3.3||2.3||3.2||3.9||3.6|
|19||Salt Lake City, UT||63.4||5.0||2.2||2.1||0.4||2.4||4.8||3.9||4.6|
The top 10
Here's more about the top ten cities for lasting love — and what went into their rankings.
1. St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis scores well consistently across all eight metrics, which is why the “Gateway to the West” is the true city of lasting love. Notably, the city scores a perfect 5.0 in two metrics: number of same-sex households and the number of years residents have been married.
2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
As one half of Minnesota’s “twin cities,” Minneapolis scored high across several metrics. In fact, a higher percentage of people are married in Minneapolis than St. Louis. Similarly, a lower percentage of people are divorced in Minneapolis than St. Louis. However, Minneapolis scores a full point lower than St. Louis in terms of same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Of all the cities to make this list, Boston has the second-highest score for the percentage of divorced people. In other words, long-term matches seem to be more sustainable in this New England city. Boston is also one of seven cities to have scored a perfect 5.0 in the category of same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Steel City scores above a 4.0 in half of the categories, including length of marriages, romantic restaurants per capita, adult stores per capita, and wedding venues.
5. Richmond, Virginia
Virginia’s capital, Richmond, is surely for lovers. There’s only one category where this city scored below 2.5 — the percentage of couples who live together who are unmarried. In Richmond, 5.43% of couples living together aren’t married, which is the sixth lowest percentage of all 50 cities we analyzed.
6. Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s capital city is home to long marriages, friendly for unmarried couples who live together, and boasts a high number of romantic restaurants where lovers can rekindle their fire.
7. Seattle, Washington
The last city on the list to earn a score over 70 is Seattle. Of the top cities so far, Seattle is the only one that did not earn a 4.0 or above for the number of wedding venues. Could that be due to the weather in the Pacific Northwest?
8. Washington, D.C.
D.C. has one of the lowest percentages of divorced couples in the country. It’s one of only four cities where less than 9% of locals are divorced. This city also has as perfect score for same-sex couples and the number of romantic restaurants.
9. Tampa, Florida
Tampa’s high scores in the categories of wedding venues, romantic restaurants, and adult stores per capita, alongside a lengthy duration of marriages, keep this Florida city in the top 10. Tampa’s high divorce rate and lack of same-sex couples per 1,000 households are the scores that bring this city’s score down.
10. San Francisco, California
The Bay Area is known for its inclusivity and diversity, so it comes as no surprise that this city has scored a perfect 5.0 in the category of same-sex couples. In fact, San Francisco has one of the most supportive environments for the LGBTQ+ community in the country.
Grow your own long-lasting love
Whether you live in one of America's best cities for long-lasting love or not, there are plenty of ways to keep the connection strong with your partner.
- Start a side hustle together. Working with the one you love could be appealing, depending on your relationship. Explore the best side hustles for couples to find a gig that works for both of you.
- Travel together. Sure, traveling can be expensive, but don't let that stop you from seeing the world with your significant other. With one of the best travel credit cards, you can earn points for nearly free travel. You could even use the card to book your next romantic getaway.
- Invest in your future (literally). If your dream is to enjoy retirement together, it's never too soon to start saving. Learn how to invest together and start saving for retirement.
For this analysis, FinanceBuzz collected data for 50 major American cities for eight different factors relating to love and relationships. Data for each city was put into a dynamic formula that assigned a 0-5 score to each city for every factor, with scores being relative to all other cities in our evaluation. Individual factor scores were then weighted and added together to get a final score on a 0-100 scale. For this analysis, all factors were given a uniform weight of 2.5.
Factors, data points, and sources are as follows:
Marriage Percentage Score - The percentage of the population that is married in each metro area - U.S. Census
Divorce Percentage Score Score - The percentage of the population that is divorced in each city - U.S. Census
Unmarried But Living Together Score - The percentage of households that consist of unmarried couples living together in each city - U.S. Census
Median Marriage Length Score - The length in years of the median marriage in each city - U.S. Census
Frequency of Same-Sex Couples Score - The number of same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county each city is located in - UCLA School of Law Williams Institute
“Romantic” Restaurants Per Capita Score - City population (per the U.S. Census) divided by the total number of “romantic” restaurants in each city on OpenTable
“Adult” Stores Per Capita Score - City population (per the U.S. Census) divided by the total number of “adult” stores in each city on Yelp
Wedding Venues Per Capita Score - City population (per the U.S. Census) divided by the total number of wedding venues in each city on WeddingWire
All data points collected in January 2022.
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